It certainly would have been easy to give up. The fans I was sitting around in Lane Stadium were on the verge of it. The boos rained down from the stands – none louder than after Tony Gregory bobbled a swing pass form Logan Thomas only to have the ball stolen out of his hands by a Duke defender for a pick-6. At that point it was 20-0 Blue Devils with 3:12 left in the first quarter.
But then something happened. I’m not sure what happened or why, but this team rebounded. Not only did the Hokies proceed to rail off 41 straight points, but they did it in dominating fashion leaving little question who the superior team was today.
By coming back from 20 points down, the Hokies completed the largest comeback under Frank Beamer (the former record was a 17 point comeback against N.C. State in 2010). With a win today Virginia Tech also recorded its 200th win in Lane Stadium; and Frank Beamer is now tied for seventh all time in Division I wins with 255.
Today was a gut-check for Virginia Tech football as a whole, but the team rallied and pulled through on what ended up being an important win in regards to the ACC Coastal race.
Virginia Tech did the majority of their damage on the back of J.C. Coleman, who provided the best running performance of the season for the Hokies. Coleman had himself a career day rushing 13 times for 183 yards and two touchdowns. That’s an average of 14.1 yards per carry, including two touchdown runs of 45 and 86 yards. This kid provided a huge spark for the Hokies today and he should be the back that gets the rock first moving forward.
After a rocky start, Logan Thomas and the receivers rebounded as well. Marcus Davis balled out today with five catches for 144 yards and two touchdowns. Davis showed his speed and overall athleticism today by burning corners and winning deep jump balls. He was Logan’s favorite target today and for good reason too. Speaking of Logan, he had a solid day completing 14 of 23 passes for 256 yards and two touchdowns.
The story early on was how awful Virginia Tech’s defense looked. They were getting beat deep and frankly couldn’t slow Duke’s passing attack. But after getting down 20-0, the Hokies held Duke to only 185 yards over the next three quarters. The Hokies took advantage of some dropped balls and bad throws after knocking Duke starter Sean Renfree out of the game for a bit.
Michael Cole, who has had his fair share of struggles this season, picked off a pass that might as well have been fair caught it was so overthrown. Detrick Bonner, another player who has had some struggles, picked off a bobbled pass out of the hands of a Duke wide receiver. The Hokies also recorded five sacks against the Blue Devils today, only three short of their total all season up until today. Add in a couple of forced fumbles and recoveries and you’ve got a recipe for success.
Virginia Tech wasn’t perfect today, far from it at times. But today is a day to celebrate. The Hokies came back in historic fashion today on Homecoming for the current students and plethora of alumni in attendance. Wins might be hard to come by this season, and that’s why it’s important to savor today’s win. We don’t know when the next win might come, but perhaps, just perhaps, today was the day that the Hokies really turn the corner this season.